We start off the Monday Morning Wash with the news that Jon Brockman is going to stick around for his senior year at Washington. Jon simply likes going to school and is enjoying the college experience. Brockman if he came out this year would be a low first rounder / high second rounder type of guy. I don't know if that will change much next season unless he improves his shooting. The most important thing in Brockman's future is that he is going to leave UW with a degree, and a lot of good experiences which will help him in later life.
I hate to use Spencer Hawes as an example, but why not. Spencer played one uninspired year at UW and ended up being the 10th pick in the NBA draft. Spence has played in 43 games so far and is averaging eight minutes, three points, and two rebounds per game. Doesn't exactly sound like fun does it? Spence of course is a millionaire which is a pretty neat thing when you are 19, but because he left so early I really doubt he has an NBA career that will match Brockman's. I just don't think kids develop well sitting at the end of the bench. Spencer is a kid that really could have used another year or two to develop his game.
To me Brockman is the type of guy that every NBA team needs. He is the type of team player that goes out there and does all the dirty work.
I used to be a huge fan of the Sonics and the NBA, but I really haven't paid much attention since Michael Jordan left, and maybe I lost interest even before that. The problem with the NBA is the lack of development in its player pool because of all the kids jumping early. What it does is create a one on one league which is pretty boring if you ask me. That is one reason why I don't have my panties all up in a bunch about the Sonics leaving town for Oklahoma City.
NBA Commisioner Stern dropped a bomb this weekend that the new ownership group offered the Seattle city council 30 million to pay off the bonds, plus projected rent for the remaining years on the lease to leave early for Oklahoma City. This latest salvo makes me chuckle as the NBA tries in earnest to move a franchise that has been stable for the past 41 years to a city that has a miniscule media market in comparison. If you can't make it in Seattle you are not going to make it long term in Oklahoma City.
The city of Seattle's plan is to punitively drain the Bennett ownership group with enough monetary losses over the next two years to force them to sell to local ownership. There just happens to be local ownership willing to take over the franchise by the way which is puzzling to me. Bennett is correct about one thing, the team can't survive without a new, or drastically refurbished arena. Whoever ends up with the team if they stay in Seattle is still going to need to finance a new arena.
How many of you out there have been paying attention to the UW womens basketball team this year? How many of you can feel the sizzle, and the buzz as Todd Turner put it? Tia Jackson is rebuilding with a very talented freshmen class, but the results haven't been that great as the Huskies are currently 6-8 in conference, and 11-15 overall. As you may remember coach Daugherty was fired last season after taking her team to the NCAA tournament because Turner said the program lacked buzz. This year they lack wins, and buzz.
Not a single UW players was invited to this years combine which ins't surprising when you look at the overall level of the program. Still you would think Rankin would have gotten a sniff. I see Louis making it in the NFL as a return guy. Historically the Huskies used to have 6-10 players each year good enough to get evaluated.
Condotta fires back at Matt Hayes
But Matt Hayes of The Sporting News left me with little choice with this column penned earlier this week in which he tries to make the case that The Seattle Times has a vendetta against Rick Neuheisel.
I respect Condotta, and I think he does an excellent job covering the Huskies. I don't think Bob has anything against Husky football. I do think his employer has a vendetta against Husky football which goes back all the way to the last days of Don James.
As for Neuheisel he made his own bed while he was here by simply not telling the truth very much. Rick was all caught up in the Clintonesque view at the time that it was ok to lie as long as you were able to mix in a shred of truth with it while accomplishing your goal.
Now that Clintonesque is out of vogue you wonder exactly how Neuheisel is going to play it over time at UCLA? So far, so good which is a huge improvement over his first two months at Washington.
Behind the Purple Curtain
There isn't much coming out of Montlake right now. The next major happening will be the hire of a new RB coach. Word on the street was Willingham had made his decision, but no announcement, and not a single candidate has been identified so far which leads me to believe that whoever he originally settled on isn't coming.
No word yet on when Spring practice is going to start since the Athletic Department is trying to coordinate a few events to coincide with the annual Spring game.
As far as the stadium goes lobbying efforts are continuing in Olympia as Washington is taking the one on one approach with each individual legislator. It is a long and tedious process, but it is the only way to get the job done. Our poll this week asks if it will get done this session. the odds aren't good since the session is so short, and Dr Evil (Frank Chopp) doesn't seem to think it is much of a priority.
A new plan surfaced this past week concerning 520 which would put either a tunnel, or a drawbridge and off ramp through the South parking lot. I like the idea of a tunnel, but it is an engineering nightmare because of the tight space it would have to fit in to, not to mention the cost which is probably prohibitive.
I think an article like this underlines the importance of refurbishing Husky Stadium now rather than even a couple of years later. I still think there is a very good possibility that the program moves to Qwest on a permanent basis in the near future if funding is not resolved ASAP.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
Nationally, aside from its obviously dominant teams from 1990-92, Washington probably doesn't get its due as a consistent power over the last quarter century. Under three different head coaches from 1975-2002, in fact, the Huskies were the best program in the Pac Ten by a decent margin, won eight conference championships and had 26 straight winning seasons. The post-Neuheislian malaise, though, has been a cruel, bitter pill:
I have been going off topic today for a reason, and that reason is there simply isn't much Husky football news right now.
So lets talk about the Mariners for a second. They just finished trading a huge part of their future to obtain Eric Bedard, and they have also filled all the holes in their rotation going into the season. Offensively this team is still missing some pieces that will prevent it from going to the playoffs unless the rest of the AL West falls apart.
I am excited about the starting roatation, and I think the bullpen will be able to pick up the slack following the departure of one of my favorites George Sherrill. The question I have is how are they going to score runs?
At first base you have the overpaid Richie Sexson who has been on the decline ever since he arrived in Seattle. The Mariners have no choice but to hope that richie bounces back offensively this season because they can't unload his contract.
At second base you have Lopez who has not lived up to his potential since being called up to the majors. Lopez for some reason can't get in to optimum shpae, and he tends to fade after the weather gets warm
I like Bettancourt at short even though he will never put power numbers.
At third base you have the best defensive player on the team in Adrian Beltre who has put up decent enough numbers on offense even though he never has matched the numbers he put up during his final year in LA.
Johjima behind the plate is a guy I really like. He hits well, and his defense, and pitch calling has improved dramatically over the last two years.
Vidro is a one dimensional DH who had a carreer year last year depsite lacking power. You can't win with a singles hitting DH.
The outfield is a defensive liabilty with Ibanez, and Wilkerson in the corners. Ichiro holds down center and tries to make up for the offensive, and defensive liabilites of his cornermen.
The M's aren't going to be able to get the veteran help they need on offense which means the only hope for improvement rides on the rookie shoulders of Clement, and Balantien. Both of those guys are realistically a year away from providing significant help.
For the M's to make the playoffs this year they need more offense, and I just don't think they are going to be able to come up with it in 2008.